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The Worm Ouroboros - 2013 - "Of Things That Never Were"

(57:21, Altrock Records)


*****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  L'Impasse Sainte Beregonne 4:26
2.  Shelieth 8:28
3.  Ladybird on a Moebius Strip 1:47
4.  The Pear-Shaped Man 5:16
5.  Dawn Angel 2:03
6.  Pirates in Pingaree 7:43
7.  The Magi 1:43
8.  Soleil Noir 6:10
9.  The Curfew 7:42
10. Return to the Cold Sea of Nothing 9:50
11. Hope 2:22

LINEUP:

Sergey Gvozdyukevich  keyboards; guitars, bass; flutes; vocals
Vladimir Sobolevsky  guitars 
Alexey Zapolsky  basses 
Eugene Zarkhin - drums
Vitaly Appow  reeds 

Prolusion. Hailing from Belorussia, THE WORM OUROBOROS is a recent constellation based out of Minsk. "Of Things That Never Were" is their debut album, and was released in 2013, following a three-year long creative cycle, through the Italian Fading label, a subdivison of noted avant-garde label Altrock Records.

Analysis. From what I understand, the Fading label has been set up to primarily cater for the artists that Altrock desires to release who don't fit with their main emphasis on progressive rock of an avant-garde orientation. There may be more to this of course, but if my understanding is correct then this fine band from Belarus has been placed in the proper context. While compelling and of high-quality throughout, there isn't all that many aspects of this album that will have a strong appeal amongst a dedicated avant-garde progressive rock audience. In fact, I suspect that retro may be something of a key word to describe the music at hand here. The Worm Ouroboros is a band fond of using reeds, vintage-sounding keyboards and careful guitars in their creations. Reeds are primarily flutes, but on a few occasions I did hear what appeared as other woodwinds, mainly as supplemental details, but it would appear that the use of reeds is fairly central in whatever music this band choose to explore. Those fond of pastoral, atmospheric interludes of the kind Jethro Tull has made a few of over the years will find a few items of that kind here. Interludes that are charming in their own right, but not quite as interesting as the rest of the material. And as far as the rest of this album is concerned, those songs document a band with a firm affection for English progressive rock from the 70s, and most of all for the artists and expressions that didn't catch the major music magazine headlines back in the day. We do get a few instances of retro symphonic progressive rock of the Genesis variety, with guitars and organ in tight and compelling unions, and we're also treated to an elegant excursion that wouldn't sound out of place on a Camel album in Shelieth. But the remaining songs, while incorporating a touch of all bands mentioned so far here and there, appear to aim much closer to the bands that are described as Canterbury: music that blends details from folk music, jazz rock and symphonic prog into a seamless and often whimsical whole. The band embraces that approach perfectly, although they do replace the whimsical detail with some gloomier touches at times admittedly, The Curfew a fine example of a song of that particular nature. When that has been said, this production isn't one that focuses exclusively on that particular style either, as it does blend in more conventional symphonic oriented progressive rock too, but the core foundation of the majority of the compositions appears to be one inspired by Canterbury first and foremost. I can't really say that this band brings anything new or innovative to the table here, but the music they explore is finely crafted and well developed on all levels.

Conclusion. Those who generally find pleasure in bands honing in on retro-oriented progressive rock should find a lot to enjoy on this initial production by The Worm Ouroboros. The core foundation appears to be music in the Canterbury tradition, liberally flavored with typical English symphonic progressive rock of the 70 in general with pointers to bands like Camel and Genesis in particular, but at times with a dark, unnerving undercurrent rather than the more typical whimsical tendencies you expect from a band taking on this musical tradition. A fine album and a fine band, and besides those with an affection for Canterbury-inspired music I'd guess that fans of similar bands like German band Argos should find this CD to be an intriguing experience.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 7, 2014
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Altrock Records
The Worm Ouroboros


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